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Proposed diplomas meant to prepare students for jobs

Tennessee Wesleyan College

The New York State Board of Regents is considering a proposal to create two new education tracks that would better prepare high school students for jobs in the manufacturing and technical sectors. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says adding these diplomas would help increase graduation rates in New York state as well as bolster the economy.

The tracks would focus on teaching science, technology, engineering and math, otherwise known as STEM, and career and technical education programs, or CTE, and would offer students diplomas and certifications in these areas in place of the regular regents diploma.

The unemployment rate in New York state among young adults ages 18 to 24 is 16.9 percent. Schumer says this is largely due to workers not having the education needed to fill jobs within the fields of engineering and technology.

"The CTE pathway would allow students to follow specialized training programs within the career and technical education mold and allow them to use their diploma as well as extra certifications to pursue good paying jobs in industries already ready and waiting to hire kids who get out of high school," Schumer said.

The senator says creating these programs could also greatly reduce the state's high drop out rates among high school students.

"Bottom line is, making students taking a third or fourth year of world history or American history when they don't have the ability to  learn the skills that the jobs need, doesn't make sense," said Schumer. "These are diplomas that emphasize the skills they need both to prepare for college and in preparing for jobs out of high school."

The Board of Regents still must meet, discuss, and vote on the proposed diplomas; and the the regents exam requirements would need to be amended to include the new programs. But Schumer told reporters in a conference call that if  the board moves quickly enough, the programs could be available to students as early as the fall of 2013.